Review: Bucket List to Love by CP Santi

Bucket List To Love
by C.P. Santi

Aya Contreras is thrilled to be studying in the land of sakura and sushi. Tokyo is a fascinating city to live in—vending machines, cosplayers, karaoke boxes, and bright, colorful conbinis on every corner. And the architectural design program she’s in is everything she dreamed it to be.
The only problem? Her tutor doesn’t seem to like her.
Well, she doesn’t like him very much either. Sure, Ryohei Mori is talented, and there’s no denying he’s hot. But he’s also a surly, bossy know-it-all who eats too many cookies.
Another annoying thing about him is he’s nosy. And when he stumbles upon the crazy bucket list Aya’s sisters forced on her, he teases her mercilessly about it.
But when their professor pairs them up for a design competition, things get . . . interesting. Fueled by beer and a whole lot of cookies, can Aya and Ryo cross out some items on her bucket list without killing each other? Or will they realize there’s much more to each other than they’d originally thought?

Aya had just broken up with her boyfriend of six years when she discovered something about him. A study grant to Japan was just the thing she needed to forget about her broken heart. Afraid to fall in love again, Aya tried hard to steer clear of temptations, but her hot and gorgeous tutor made it impossible to do so. Add the bucket list that her meddling but sweet sisters insisted for her to do, it was only a matter of time before Aya found herself falling in love under the Meiji Shrine.

When I learned about this latest story by CP Santi, I knew I had to read it. The book gave me all the feels! I felt like I was watching a J-Drama with MatsuJun as the male lead and the characters came alive with the wonderful storyline, friendly banters, beautiful sceneries and that exciting bucket list.

I enjoyed the way Ryo and Aya’s relationship developed. Not forced, not dictated. I couldn’t help but smile and grin at them, I actually looked like a fool while reading A Bucket List to Love. Ryo Mori was such a darling.

What I really loved most was how Japan was beautifully depicted and narrated by the author. So amazing! I know a thing or two about Japanese culture but I’ve never been to the Land of the Rising Sun. I’ve always been fascinated with anything related to Japan. JPop, JDrama, you name it, I can handle it. (A big fan of Arashi here!). And the author made me want to go there soon. In my opinion, Japan is one of the best countries to visit or live in the world.

Overall, I thought this was a well written book with reasonably well pacing that reminded what it was like when I was in college. CP Santi has always bedazzled me with her tales and feel-good love stories. I am so stinking in love with her. Plus, I got to read and finish her book during her birthday, which made this story really special.

I don’t know about you, but this book just moved right to my top ten all-time favorite books list. I can’t recommend it enough. This is a book I’m definitely going to re-read someday.

 

Review: Royally Matched by Emma Chase

Royally Matched (Royally #2)
by Emma Chase

Some men are born responsible, some men have responsibility thrust upon them. Henry John Edgar Thomas Pembrook, Prince of Wessco, just got the motherlode of all responsibility dumped in his regal lap.

He’s not handling it well.

Hoping to help her grandson to rise to the occasion, Queen Lenora agrees to give him “space”—but while the Queen’s away, the Prince will play. After a chance meeting with an American television producer, Henry finally makes a decision all on his own:

Welcome to Matched: Royal Edition.

 

A reality TV dating game show featuring twenty of the world’s most beautiful blue bloods gathered in the same castle. Only one will win the diamond tiara, only one will capture the handsome prince’s heart.

While Henry revels in the sexy, raunchy antics of the contestants as they fight, literally, for his affection, it’s the quiet, bespectacled girl in the corner—with the voice of an angel and a body that would tempt a saint—who catches his eye.

The more Henry gets to know Sarah Mirabelle Zinnia Von Titebottum, the more enamored he becomes of her simple beauty, her strength, her kind spirit… and her naughty sense of humor.

But Rome wasn’t built in a day—and irresponsible royals aren’t reformed overnight.

As he endeavors to right his wrongs, old words take on whole new meanings for the dashing Prince. Words like, Duty, Honor and most of all—Love.

Omg, my heart..i never cried for a royal before. Ever. Until I met Prince Henry..

Two weeks ago, I read Royally Screwed by Emma Chase and found Prince Nicholas quite the man. I thought he was the best thing that’s happened to a royal.. Honest, funny, charming, crazy in love. But when dashing prince Henry came to the rescue, life became even more exciting and fun!

In Royally Screwed, Prince Nicholas relinquished his title to Prince Henry and deep inside, I thought that was a big move, a big leap of faith. The mighty prince brought to his knees by a commoner. I thought that was so sweet.

 

In Royally Matched, Henry John Edgar Thomas Pembrook took his responsibilities in stride, not really serious in politicking and matters of the crown. Until a reality TV show got him chasing skirts of royal blood. A non-disclosure agreement was all he needed to sign and all the pretty girls would be frolicking his bedroom at night.

If only everything about reality TV were true.

Lady Sarah Mirabelle Zinnia Titebottum had this fear of public speaking. She would never dream of facing a hundred people and talking to them in public. No, she would rather hide in her nook and read Jane Austen novels than do the project that was assigned to her by her boss. But when a TV producer came knocking at their door and convinced her sister Penelope to join Matched: The Royal Edition, Sarah Titebottum agreed to chaperone her sister and fulfill her Act of Royalty instead of getting back to work.

If only she could get around the Royal Prince and dodge his every move. But when Henry met Sarah, he was intrigued by her. He wanted to discover everything about her, what made her tick, what books she read, what she wore underneath her black gothic dress. What he didn’t anticipate was him slowly falling for this timid, mysterious royal and willing to forget everything just to hold her tight and protect her from the villains of the world.

In the grand scheme of things, this reality TV show should solve all Prince Henry’s quest for a future Queen. But in the end, getting royally matched was the last thing he could ever hope for.

I love, love, love Prince Henry, and I would do everything for him. ‘Cause all of me loves all of him, all his curves and all his edges, all his perfect imperfections…. (I made you sing, didn’t I?)

“No, you don’t understand—”
“I understand perfectly. What you don’t seem to comprehend is that Sarah is my best friend. The only one I’ve got. I’m not fucking helping you. Piss off, Princess.”
He turns to walk away.
And I shout, “She’s hurt!”
That makes him pause mid-step, his back stiffening.
“I haven’t just made her angry, I’ve hurt her terribly. She’s still hurting . . . and I can’t stand it, Willard.” My hands find their way into my hair.
I move in front of him, bending my knees to catch his eyes, which seems quite apropos.
“Help me make it better. Not for me, but for her. Please.”

Sarah’s love for books gently rubbed on Henry and I thought that was so sweet. I am all for a guy who knows how to appreciate the written words, the texture of books, the smell of pages. Ahhh, it’s divine.

“The only thing that smells better than a new book is an old one.”
I put the book down.
“This isn’t it. She’d want a book that’s been read—dog-eared and held and sighed over—not one that’s been caged in glass its whole life. She’ll want one that’s been loved.”
Ever so slowly, Willard smiles. “There’s hope for you yet.”

Their slow burn romance got me really giddy and hopeful. I was dreamy eyed every time Henry comforted Sarah. I was in a roller-coaster of emotions whenever Sarah went catatonic. I was tickled to the bones when Henry spurt words I could only her from Casanova’s mouth.

I would give up a crown for her. I would give up my name, my title—I would trade my country, forfeit my birthright, lie, kill, cheat, and steal, for this. For her.

“If anything happens to you, I’ll die. I’m not exaggerating.” My voice is strangled and wetness trickles from my eyes and I don’t give a damn. “You are woven into my soul and you are wrapped around my heart. And if anything happens to you, both will wither and die and I won’t even care.”

The ending…

It may be quite expected, but it was definitely off-the-charts romantic. Absolutely up on my alley. I swoon and sighed and smiled and swoon again. Could this be love?

Emma Chase, I love you too… Please don’t stop writing royal stories and romances, okay?

 

P. S.

 

 

I  buddy read  this  awesome book  with  my  book  club gal, Blessie aka iBlessth13th, of  Mischievous Reads...

 

 

Review: Shut Up and Kiss Me by Jessica Lemmon

Shut Up and Kiss Me (Lost Boys #2)
by Jessica Lemmon

Cade: I tried. I really tried. I should be out of this small town by now, finishing my law degree and partnering up with my buddies, but I couldn’t resist one last street race. Now I’m sidelined in the hospital, and while my injuries will heal, I’m not so sure my voice will return. What kind of attorney can’t talk? Yeah, exactly. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to come back from this… until Tasha Montgomery reawakens every competitive bone in my body.

Tasha: I nearly watched Cade Wilson die on that lonely stretch of road. He’s damn lucky just to be alive, even if he doesn’t realize it. I know he’s destined for bigger and better things, but I don’t mind helping him get there as he relearns everything he took for granted. Cade’s a good student, a real perfectionist; I can tell how much his stutter bothers him. But when he lets his kisses do the talking, everything else disappears. And one day, maybe he’ll be able to tell me that he wants me—as much as I want him.

O.M.G..

This was really something I won’t forget and would still be rereading in the months to come. Holy guacamole! I was at a loss for words after reading this book.. Just like Cade Wilson was.. But now that I have recovered, let’s proceed with this kissing stuff..

 

I mentioned in my Instagram post before, it has been such a long time since I read a story about a man having difficulties with his speech. Last time I read one was years ago, with Colleen Hoover’s Maybe Someday, which is my all-time favorite book by CoHo. Ridge and Sydney’s unforgettable romance got me speechless in the end.

Shut Up and Kiss Me left me breathless as well. I thought Cade Wilson deserved what happened to him, because he was quite the rude annoying bad boy in the beginning. Oh boy, I was a fool thinking about it. I was so wrong and judgmental and quick to assume the worst about Cade. Thank goodness, Tasha Montgomery shed the light for me.

Tasha may be the rich girl on the block, with a father giving everything she needed and wanted. You’d think he was a doting loving father, but let me tell, he wasn’t at all, not even close. And Tasha didn’t want to be dependent on him all her life. She wanted to prove that she could be someone else and could stand on her own, without her father’s wealth and indiscretions.

Cade was in a horrific car accident that left him speechless… literally. He stopped talking when he began to form speech defects, like stuttering and faltering on words. So his father had hired Tasha to help him with his issues. Except Tasha wasn’t a speech therapist, no, but she went above and beyond to help Cade regain what he lost.

Slowly Cade recouped and recovered, but his anger management issues caused him to falter and attack Tasha, verbally, painfully. All hopes for a better Cade Wilson were lost, and I couldn’t blame Tasha for giving up hope.

This story was beautifully written and the characters were amazingly depicted. I loved the angst and trepidation that Cade protrayed. I loved Tasha’s stubbornness and tenacity with her patient’s situation. I loved how they both endured the unnecessary burdens they  were struggling with. I loved how the author made the scenes go from dramatic to crazy and then steamy and sweet, leaving the reader gasped for breath and tongue-tied.

And yes, this is probably one of my favorite reads this year. Shut Up and Kiss Me is the second book in the Lost Boys series, but I assure you I will read the first one soon and then the next books to come.

Now, I have to say bye for now and let me and my hubby get back to kissing please… Hmm, where were we, hon?

 

Review: Royally Screwed by Emma Chase

Royally Screwed (Royally #1)
by Emma Chase

Nicholas Arthur Frederick Edward Pembrook, Crowned Prince of Wessco, aka His Royal Hotness, is wickedly charming, devastatingly handsome, and unabashedly arrogant; hard not to be when people are constantly bowing down to you.

Then, one snowy night in Manhattan, the prince meets a dark haired beauty who doesn’t bow down. Instead, she throws a pie in his face.

Nicholas wants to find out if she tastes as good as her pie, and this heir apparent is used to getting what he wants.

Dating a prince isn’t what waitress Olivia Hammond ever imagined it would be.

There’s a disapproving queen, a wildly inappropriate spare heir, relentless paparazzi, and brutal public scrutiny. While they’ve traded in horse drawn carriages for Rolls Royces, and haven’t chopped anyone’s head off lately, the royals are far from accepting of this commoner.

But to Olivia, Nicholas is worth it.

Nicholas grew up with the whole world watching, and now Marriage Watch is in full force. In the end, Nicholas has to decide who he is and, more importantly, who he wants to be: a King… or the man who gets to love Olivia forever.

 

I am not quite myself today. Early on, I was getting displeased at a certain prince, wondered if I would be able to tolerate him. And then in the end, I found myself sobbing like a kitten who lost her mitten and then I began to cry.. (wait, that sounds like a nursery rhyme!)

Oh well, please, allow me some moments to indulge in His Royal Hotness, as I still have a royal hangover from Emma Chase’s enigmatic prince. And do forgive me for acting like a fool in this review, as I believe this one deserve to be tackled at length.

At first glance, at first meet, at first impression, Prince Nicholas Pembrook came off as an annoying, obnoxious, irritating prince with unsavory character. I thought he was going to be that typical bad boy royal who thought so highly of himself, but halfway through the book, my thoughts about him turned upside down. A royal with a heart, a prince with sense of humor, a brother torn between duties and family and love.

Olivia Hammond had it hard and difficult. Her life seemed to be at shambles ever since her mother died and her father broke down from heartache. Her little firecracker of a sister Ellie was the one thing that got her up and running in their quiant coffeeshop, Amelia’s, even when it was on the verge of foreclosure. (I thoroughly love Ellie, by the way!)

And then she met this prince who thought so highly of himself, offered her a thousand euros for a kiss. If you were in Olivia’s shoes, would you decline the offer, or go kiss and tell?

I can’t believe this is just the first time I read a book by Emma Chase. Why, why, why? What have I been reading my entire life?

One moment I was okay, the next minute I was tearing up inside. I don’t know how to handle these princes of Wessco. At first I thought I’d see Nicholas and Henry as the laidback versions of Prince William and Prince Harry of Wales. Mostly of their family tragedy and military involvement and party-party inclinations. But the moment Nicholas brought Olivia to Wessco and introduced her to the palace, I stopped comparing the royals and saw Nick at a whole new light. He’s amazing. He’s fantastic. He’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of. And he’s everything I’d never get. (Lucky bloke!)

And Prince Henry… my goodness! I was so wrong about him at the beginning. I thought he was immature and insensitive. But when he poured out his heart, I cried along with him. I can’t wait to read what happens to him after Nicholas dropped the bomb at his feet. O.M.G.

And Olivia, you feisty American gal, how could you be so much lucky. I’d love to trade places with you one day, have a taste of living in the palace and being with His Royal Hotness himself 24/7. How would you like that?

Emma Chase, I am so sorry I haven’t read your past books. I am so sorry I had put off reading Royally Screwed two months ago when I got it on my Kindle. I am so sorry for the stars in my eyes whenever I see Nicholas on that book cover. I am so sorry for acting like a silly little girl right now. I bet Queen Lenora won’t approve of my behavior. But I am not sorry for falling in love with your story and for falling hard for Nicholas. And I am sure, I won’t be sorry meeting Prince Henry real soon.

Thank you Emma for this has been a royal rollercoaster ride and I love riding every minute of it.

Now, please let me find Nicholas’ Calvin Kleins before I go to sleep… uhm wait… he doesn’t wear CKs OMG!!! *hides face*

ThrowbackThursday: A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks

throwbackthursday

It’s Thursday once again and we’re back with my newest favorite book meme, #ThrowbackThursday created by Renee of It’s Book Talk (https://itsbooktalk.com/) as her way of sharing some of her favorite oldies but goodies books that were published more than a year ago. Check out her blog to see her TBT recommendations this week 🙂

In my case, I decided to re-read and feature my favorite book of all time. Yes, whenever someone asks me what book really got me, it’s none other than Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk To Remember.

A Walk to Remember
by Nicholas Sparks

Every April, when the wind blows from the sea and mingles with the scent of lilacs, Landon Carter remembers his last year at Beaufort High. It was 1958, and Landon had already dated a girl or two. He even swore that he had once been in love. Certainly the last person in town he thought he’d fall for was Jamie Sullivan, the daughter of the town’s Baptist minister.

A quiet girl who always carried a Bible with her schoolbooks, Jamie seemed content living in a world apart from the other teens. She took care of her widowed father, rescued hurt animals, and helped out at the local orphanage. No boy had ever asked her out. Landon would never have dreamed of it.

Then a twist of fate made Jamie his partner for the homecoming dance, and Landon Carter’s life would never be the same. Being with Jamie would show him the depths of the human heart and lead him to a decision so stunning it would send him irrevocably on the road to manhood…

I was supposed to re-read this last month, being April was the special month for Landon Carter and Jamie Sullivan. But my busy daily routines got in the way so I had to postpone it. Good thing I finally got to squeeze some time for Nicholas Sparks, and here I am bawling again.

I don’t know why I never get tired of Landon and Jamie. To me, they are proof that love beyond time is possible. That love is something we can always hold on to until our last breath. Their love story always touch my heart. A Walk to Remember is my ultimate favorite book of all time. It’s always my number 1.

As a Christian myself, I loved Jamie’s character. She wad very inspiring; she didn’t lose hope. She was able to reach out and changed Landon’s character for the better. There was not a single moment that I did not cry. And there’s no one else to blame but Nicholas Sparks. I’ve read this book so many years ago even before it was made into a film, and I make it a point to read it every year.

I always wonder how a guy could ever write something as cheesy as his writings! I always thought women authors were better writers because they are more adept to everyone’s feelings. Nicholas Sparks proved me wrong. He is a work of art, his writings are masterpieces. Although many people tell me his characters always end up dead or getting sick and senile and sometimes, no promise of a happy ending, I still want to read his books over and over again. Because his books serve as my anchor to reality, to truth, to God and to life.

I’ve read almost all of Sparks’ books and would still be reading them even when I get old and grey.

Review: Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

Tuesdays with Morrie
by Mitch Albom

Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, and gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it. For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded. Wouldn’t you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you?

Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life. Knowing he was dying of ALS – or motor neurone disease – Mitch visited Morrie in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final ‘class’: lessons in how to live.

I don’t know how much tears I’ve shed with this book. I always get scared reading Mitch Albom’s stories, not because they’re scary, because all of them are not; but because they always cause me heart palpitations, ugly crying and mental pain – in a good way. This one’s particularly special because it featured the author’s mentor and former college professor who had a great impact in Albom’s life.

Morrie’s struggles and decisions of surviving while waiting for his demise was not an easy deal to break. Having to reconvene and reconnect with a former student every Tuesday must have been one of his treasured moments in life. The life lessons and beautiful analogies in the book opened my eyes to the reality of life and embracing it one day at a time.

I swear I had to use at least two handkerchiefs to keep my tears from falling. In the end, I gave up and wallowed and reflected everything Morrie Schwartz had said. I can definitely say that this is the most amazing and heartbreaking book I’ve ever read.

Review: When Sparks Fly by Ines B. Yao

When Sparks Fly
by Ines Bautista-Yao

Twenty-four-year-old photographer’s apprentice Regina has always felt like the plain, dull orange next to the shiny red apple that is her best friend Lana. But then she meets Ben—the first guy to ever break Lana’s heart, and the first guy to ever make Regina feel that he only has eyes for her. As Regina finds herself falling hard for Ben, she also finds herself breaking all the rules of best-friendship. Will she give up the love of her life for Lana, or will she finally realize that she deserves her share of the spotlight, too?

To tell you the truth, I was instantly enthralled with this novel the moment I laid my eyes on the cover. The design is very intricate and exquisite, lovely and mushy at the same time. It calls on me, pulling me in, drawing me further in. I know I shouldn’t be judging a book by its cover, but hey, let’s all be honest. Almost all of us grab the most beautifully decorated/designed cover we see in the library or bookstores. I know I do.

Anyway, moving along.. I have read some of Ines B. Yao’s books and came to love her stories as well as her characters. I’ve met Regina and Ben during their wedding scene in the other book, Only A Kiss and I knew then that I had to know more about them. Lucky me, When Sparks Fly flew right into my hands.

Regina and Lana had been best friends since they were kids. They’re both pretty, but it had always been Lana who got all the boys’ attention. When Regina found someone who might actually liked her back, she was sure that once he saw Lana, he’d fall for her BFF instead. Heck, it’s always Lana who got everybody’s attention and who ended up with the guys, anyway.

Something changed though when Ben came along. The guy who both made the girls swoon over his handsome physique and witty personality. It’s no surprise that most girls would fall hard for Mr. Sportscaster, but this time though, Ben prefered Regina instead of the gorgeous Lana. Could this be the end of their friendship?

Earlier in the book, I was pretty much ready for the crazy catfights between friends and the Status: It’s Complicated kind of relationship, but the appearance of an additional and annoying character made the story even more exciting. I practically stayed all night reading until I made sure that Regina and Ben get their happy ever after. Glad that my black coffee didn’t fail me until the wee hours of the morning.

This may fall under the “BFFs falling for the same guy” trope but this is the kind of story that would make you see that there is no need to choose between the friend and the boy. I love how Ben and Regina complemented each other. I love how photography and cooking and that tie-dyed necktie strengthened their bond. I love how the characters grew and learned from their mistakes. I love how the book was filled with scenes that melted me to the core.

And lastly, I love how Ines Yao managed to write characters that you feel compelled to root for. Don’t be surprised if pretty much everything Ines Yao writes always end up in my Favorite Books list.